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Peter Rhodes: The star you never saw

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PETER RHODES on how TV is changing, a vote on arming our cops and why we waste so much food.

ONE for you techno-buffs. I've just ordered a new batch of ink cartridges for my printer. Why is it the yellow one always runs out first?

THE plot was complex, the setting wonderful and the acting brilliant. But did you spot the real glory as the new series of Morse (ITV) began? I refer, of course to the fleeting image of a Ford Consul Classic, the most dazzlingly styled heap of rubbish ever to emerge from Dagenham. Wonderful to see one that has not rusted away.

CLAIRE Foy's award for Best Actress in a TV series at the Golden Globes focuses attention not only on her talent in the Netflix series The Crown but also on the changing nature of telly. It was once a vast unifying creation where everyone seemed to be following the latest drama. Today, telly is a scattergun thing, pumping out more and more programmes to ever-smaller audiences, including Netflix's pay-TV viewers. Thus, Claire Foy gets an award for appearing in a TV series that most TV viewers have not seen.

POLICE Federation members in London are being balloted on whether they want to carry guns. I predict a big majority against. This is not because the Met's officers are scared of loud noises or worried, in a high-minded way, that guns will alienate the public. The truth is much more mundane. It is that carrying a firearm can be a pain in the backside. You have to sign your personal weapon out at the start of each day, sign it in again at the end and account for every round of ammunition. You have to be trained with it, practise with it and clean the wretched thing. If you lose a single bullet you get disciplined. If you are forced to draw it from the holster, you have to fill in a report. You are required to pass a higher level of fitness and psychological testing to be an armed officer. If you ever fire your pistol there will be a full inquiry. If you mislay the weapon (it happens), you're out of a job. And in these troubled times, if a would-be jihadist wants a gun, what easier way to get one than to disable or kill a copper and steal his?

THE other tiny snag, as any cop will tell you, is that the officers who are keenest to get their hands on firearms are the ones who should never be allowed anywhere near them.

YESTERDAY'S report by the Waste and Resources Action Programme showing that we throw away 7.3 million tons of food a year speaks volumes about this nation's cookery skills. How many millions of the addicts who are glued to the screen for the fabulous fancies of Bake Off know how to use leftovers to make a bread and butter pudding?

The silly season comes early. It is reported this week that dentists have developed a new treatment for decay that could "substantially reduce" the need for fillings. Oh, really? The "no drilling / no filling" headline has been popping up every year for at least the past half-century, usually in the summer when news is slack. Curiously, no dentist you meet ever seems to have heard of these miracle cures. This will just hurt a little . . . .

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